Promise Me a Place.

I haven’t been grave-tending in almost two and a half years. It wasn’t for lack of desire; life just managed to get in the way.

It started off for mundane reasons anyway.

Olga, the shiny 2001 behemoth that I had been tooting around in for almost 5 years, decided she was on her last legs. It seemed foolish to go on extraneous side trips to the cemeteries and graveyards that call me by name or to explore news ones far off in the cities around my home. I needed to go 20 miles to and 20 miles from work five days a week; maintaining my and my family’s standard of living was more important than my happiness at any rate.

When Olga was replaced by the slightly newer Karen and had gone to the scrap heap in the sky, it was too hot in the mornings to try. I determined that my comfort had more bearing on the situation and told myself: in the autumn, when the days are cooler. I looked forward to it.

But autumn arrived and I moped inside on Saturday mornings. For some reason, I couldn’t reconcile the job of tending graves without the slick-speaking, top hat-wearing, sunglasses-with-one-piece-of-glass old man who had grabbed me up and told me to get doin’ the good work. He was gone along with all his mates and as much as I wanted to feel the cool, calm release that comes from speaking with the dead as I clear off detritus and feed their souls, I couldn’t do it. So, I moped away my Saturdays and felt abysmal for it.

I tried to talk it up with Anup, asking him to help me figure this all out, but our relationship had boiled down to two growling beasts unable to find or unwilling to find common ground. I gave it all up and moped away Saturday after Saturday, trying to forget that part of my life. It was gone and I was better off without it.


To the solemn graves, near a lonely cemetery, my heart like a muffled drum is beating funeral marches. – Charles Baudelaire

My mom pointed out to me some time last year that I seemed much happier when I went grave-tending on a regular basis. It took me a while to figure iut what the fuck she was talking about. I hadn’t really considered the idea that it was a stress relief to me. It never occurred to me that it wasn’t just about the deceased calling me, but about me as well.

What I found, upon reflection, was that the experience was more than a snappy-dressed old man, telling me to get up and go explore. I found myself reviewing weeks of high stress and the image of graveyards quietly settling me down at the end of the week. I distinctly recall sitting at my desk one day and reminding myself that the bullshit I was dealing with was effluvia; it would be gone from my mind when I finally got to the cemeteries.

As much as I could admit that grave-tending was practically a necessity for me to stay sane, I kept getting caught up in what it had started off for me. It had been with the simple intention of paying homage to the man with the crass entourage that I started all of this and it morphed from there. No matter what though, he still remained st the center of it and I felt his loss more keenly when I considered going back to it.

I guess I was… grieving? I will admit to being surprised by it. I hadn’t considered my relationship with that sex-joke telling party boy to be that important where grief would play a part in our separation but there it was. I was actually grieving and I needed to keep to myself to fully process it all.

The problem was that I let the grief eat me up. I forgot that I needed to walk among the dead, touch their cool stones, read their names, and feed their souls. I forgot that it was a sacrifice of time and money, but it was also a reward for the terrible weeks that made up my work life. It wasn’t as simple as A and B; there were a few extra letters of the alphabet in there and it spelled out, your needs are important bby.

The act of mourning a loss can take as long as it needs, really, but sometimes the act of grieving works against you. It destroys you a little bit at a time and you don’t realize it until it’s too late. It takes pieces of you away from the whole and you’re left over compensating for the giant hole born of that grief.

It may sound a bit melodramatic but I think my not going to graveyards and cemeteries destroyed a fundamental part of who I was becoming, who I was meant to be. I can’t help but wonder now if part of my stagnation problem was because I had stopped going out for that stress relief each week.


When I am dead and buried, on my tombstone I would like to have it written, ‘I have arrived.’ Because when you feel that you have arrived, you are dead. – Yul Brynner

Shortly after the very nice lady told me that I was a house with nothing going on inside, I spent time looking at myself to see what was lacking. As I’ve remarked time and again, she wasn’t wrong; she didn’t tell me anything new. I was like a shadow of a person, or maybe more like a negative image. Everything that made me who I am was remote and distant; I was just a shell really.

During a talk with TTR about all of this, I realized that there were things I could do to get back to my roots. One of the steps was getting my tongue pierced again; I got that settled in January. Another step was cutting off my hip-length hair and keeping it at a manageable length. That was completed last month.

This month, as the warmer weather finally began appearing after the few weeks of solid winter in February, I got up at the crack of dawn to watch the sunrise. I drank my coffee, listening to the birds happily discussing whatever birds discuss and made plans to get back in touch with myself, get down to who I am and visit some cemeteries. I chose the closest ones to tend to, having missed them greatly.

I spent time clearing branches away from graves older than my grandparents. Some of the winter storms had dropped branches straight down into the graves below, burying them deep enough where I left them alone. I cleared back dead flowers, threw away trash, and mourned over the fallen over monuments that had tipped over since last I had been.

I felt a peace and contentment that I haven’t touched in a very long time.

I fed my dead and told them to expect more in future. They seemed cautiously optimistic, not as though they had forgotten me but like they didn’t put faith in what I was saying. It wasn’t just the fact that I had disappeared but the fact that they had all heard that line before. How many others before me had said that they would return with goodies and treats and never did?

I plan on going back and I plan on finding new local places to pay attention to. I had never stopped having the desire to tend graves; I had never said at any point that the job wasn’t for me. I just… got lost a little, maybe. Turned down the wrong cross path when I should have gone straight or something.

But I’m moving in the right direction again. I know I am; I can feel it like a zing in my joints, a pleasant weight against my torso. This is what I’m supposed to be doing. And I hope that I won’t get lost again.

Atoure (SVP).

To surround.

Papa Legba by Larissa P Clause.

Papa Legba by Larissa Clause.

Much of the time, when I am directed to learning something by Vye Legba, I am given a rather oblique and general communication on the subject. Point in case, he wanted me to do some research relating to my previous post and adding celebrations to my religious calendar. His exact wording for what he required of me on this search? “Pick up the book and read what you need.” There really wasn’t a lot to go on when it came to this. I had to decide which book he may be talking about and hope that I was correct. The first book I chose was wrong. Since I had no compulsion to open it until two days after I decided to utilize it for the research necessary, I rather figured it would be a failure on my part. And it was, but I still had to double and triple check that intuitive knowing that I had chosen incorrectly. I stared at my bookcase, thinking long and hard about his instruction before thinking of what I needed and what books I hadn’t read as thoroughly. Maybe he was talking about something I haven’t delved into as heartily as I have with some of my other voodoo books? It would make sense that whatever he wanted me to learn would be in a place I haven’t found it yet, hm? So, I grabbed Serving the Spirits: The Religion of Haitian Vodou by Mambo Vye Zo Komande LaMenfo. And on my second attempt, I found what I was looking for.

The thing is that I’m pretty sure he wanted me to pick up this book for numerous reasons. It wasn’t just the research he’s asking me to look into relating to calendar related items, but also because there were other items I needed to read and learn. And this book really helped me with that in a way that I wasn’t expecting. This particular epiphany related to the Guédé, of all nachon to be epiphany-ing about. And was thoroughly unexpected. (Yet more proof, to me, that Papa Legba is the string puller in the background.) The other thing relating to this book is that a lot of the items she mentioned when discussing the nachon of the Guédé was not something I had heard before and was not something the Bawon found particularly pleasing, either.

While I have done as much research as my little typing fingers can convey and as much reading as my thirty-year-old eyeballs allow, there have been a lot of items that have slipped through the cracks. A large part of this isn’t just my own human frailty but also the fact that there are just going to be things that I am simply incapable of learning because I have not been inducted into a society. I have, mostly, made amends with the fact that the information I have is going to be anthropological in nature – so couched in the terminology of a lot of theories and possibilities – or based on a single person’s practice. While anthropological tomes are pretty damn important to the Kemetic part of things, a lot of my practice with the lwa can be simply stated as “UPG.” I may not know what it is that I am doing, or the specific why of the matter. Sometimes, later, I find out that there is actually a word for what it is I am doing or that there is a specific action that is relating to what it is I have already been doing to serve my spirits. But, for the most part, I’m being pushed and prodded in a way that is completely outside of a standardized frame of reference, or so I believe. While this is, obviously, a problem in numerous arenas – I mean, really, can you imagine talking to a practitioner about some of the shit you do as a non-initiate and not being laughed at because of it? It’s something that I find easier to do because of the Kemetic background that I have.

What it comes down to is that I like the structured reliability of a community to fall back on. However, because I have a functional gateway of communication between myself and the various OTHERS™ who have entered my life, I don’t necessarily require it.

This isn’t to say that whatever I end up with is the proper choice. I can only go so far with rather vague instructions – please see Papa Legba’s commentary above – before I come to a stopping point. But there are days where the fact that I can surround myself with the lwa is infinitely more preferable than having to stop and learn under the tutelage of a human being who is as fallible as myself. By surrounding myself with the lwa and by embracing their entrance into my life – as much as someone as caustic as me can anyway – I think I have it a lot easier. While I know that many established practitioners would read what I write and scoff heartily or would shake their heads or accuse me of something or other, I feel a certain type of safety in these kinds of moments. In learning based on what the lwa themselves desire and have in store for me versus the tried and true message. And as Papa Legba is so fond of telling me over and over again, “Sometimes, you just have to go and fuck up the status quo.” While I’m not quite sure what that means to Papa Legba, I can see what he means. Sometimes, the tried and true methods take a good deal longer than the lwa are willing to wait on.

Something of interest that I found in this section of the book related to how the Guédé and the honored ancestors need to be kept apart when you honor them. This really made me sit back and pay attention to something that had been niggling me in the back of my head. The thing is that when it comes to the akhu veneration that I do, I tend to consider all that I do, from the grave-tending to the minor rituals in home, as a part of that. I also tended to view what I was doing for the akhu as part and parcel with what I was doing with the Bawon and the Guédé. The statements relating to this within the book made me sit back and seriously take stock in the various aspects of my practice and how differentiated they actually are.

Baron Samedi by Veronika Unger.

Baron Samedi by Veronika Unger.

When I am grave-tending, this is in honor of the Bawon, Maman, and Papa G. I am not doing this for myself. This is how I offer them service each week. This is also why much of what I do when I am in a graveyard stems from bits and pieces I’ve put together in my readings relating to the Guédé. All of the offerings, everything I say, and how I go about what it is I do in those cemeteries is a carefully created Guédé-related blanket that I have sewn together based off of my readings and based off of things that the Guédé have asked of me. When I enter the graveyard, I announce myself, which is something that Bawon requested that I do. When I enter a graveyard, I pay my way with pennies at the sentinel grave nearest the entrance, which is something that I learned from another Vodouisant. The offerings that I leave are based entirely off of things that the Guédé have asked of me or based off of things I’ve picked up here and there in either blogs or books. Every aspect to what I do when I go to the cemetery to honor the locals here is one-hundred percent something relating to the Guédé. This is why I have had a difficult time trying to mesh my Kemetic practice into the grave-tending because, damn it, there is nothing Kemetic about it outside of the occasional cone of incense or the fucking flowers I leave.

And that’s it.

This made me realize that my constant failed attempts at blending the akhu veneration with the service for the Guédé is never going to work. I had a feeling that was the case because, well, every time I go to the cemetery and try to stay in a Kemetic frameset, Bawon comes on over and chews me the hell out over how silly I’m being. I was doing him a sever disservice and doing myself one as well by attempting to blend the two. They have no requirement to be blended. The work I do for the Guédé, the forgotten ones in those cemeteries, has to do with Bawon, Maman, and Papa G. They are not my akhu in the way that this book made me realize: they’re not my fucking relatives so I need to stop inviting them over when I’m doing the Kemetic akhu thing, damn it, because as special as they are to me, their being special has nothing to do with my Kemeticism. That special has to do with the voodoo portion of what it is I do.

Why it has taken me this long to realize this is incredibly stupid and silly and ridiculous. All I can say is that I am a stubborn son of a bitch.

Another item that was of particular interest to me was about how the Guédé and the rest of your lwa need to be kept apart. I do understand this, actually. I know how the rest of the lwa tend to feel about the Guédé. I’ve read enough to know that most of the lwa will leave a Fet if the Guédé show up, unannounced. There are different reasons for it – in this book, there was mention about how Freda will leave when they show up because the Guédé are incredibly tactless and truthful. I understand this, of course, but I have to admit that my Guédé altar is right in the center of my altars for the Marassa and Papa Legba. And of course, wasn’t it interesting that Bawon was a lot less lively around me after I had placed him up there…?

I thought about this a lot. There are some issues that I have relating to the “you have to” in this stuff. A part of it is the fact that a lot of us non-initiated don’t have a lot of time, energy, or space to have the types of altars that the Guédé may want. I know exactly what Bawon wants and I know exactly what he would like on it. I’ve seen it. He’s shown me exactly what he’s hoping to have, one day, in my home. In the interim, what he is looking for is going to have to wait due to a serious lack of space. I live in a very tiny apartment. Every available wall space has been taken up with things like furniture and altars and living space. What bits I have been able to appropriate as functional altars (such as my Anup and akhu altar that sidelines as a filled DVD case) are very small and not very functional. I had to go from a full sized apartment and all of the furniture that furnished that place into a place that is half its size. For fuck’s sake, the living room is 10×14 nook off of the dining area. So, while I understand that the lwa don’t like the Guédé and don’t want them around, there are some things that just have to give.

And that means the Guédé end up smack dab in the middle of two other lwa.

While thinking about how I hadn’t heard anything from the Bawon since I made the decision to add the Guédé to the other lwa‘s home, I felt a brush on my shoulder. It wasn’t really like… it wasn’t like someone was stroking my shoulder to tell me I was doing all right. But it wasn’t exactly not like that either. It was almost a way of saying, “There’s other stuff going on right now and I’m not angry about it and if anyone else is, they can take it up with me so don’t worry about it.” It was soothing, more than anything else, and it helped.

Again, I know that what I’m doing is probably wrong in a lot of other established practitioners’ eyes. However, I have to make do with what I got. And if that means that I’m going to have to put the services I wish to have for some other lwa, most notably the Marassa and Gran Bwa, on hold until things can be maneuvered around properly, and then that’s what I’m going to have to do. It’s not very much like I asked for them to come to me, anyway. They showed up to me, for whatever reason, and I kind of have to believe that means something to both them and to the services I am intending on implementing for each.

I think what really threw me for a loop was this quote, “I was taught that unless you have The Baron in your constellation or were born on his day (November 2) then you do not serve Him. He is too dangerous to anyone He has not chosen for himself. Even those of us who do serve him, must pay the price in the end of that service.” While I agree that nothing is given for free and that we must all, ultimately, pay the price set for us when it comes to the services we offer to the lwa and the Guédé, I’m not quite sure why people should not offer the Baron services. She hints that he is a dark and sinister figure. And while I agree he has his moments, nothing I have found anywhere has ever intimated that he should be left alone. Obviously, each Mambo and Houngan is taught in a different way from one another, which is why there is no unified “this is how it is” in voodoo. But, this statement bothered me a lot.

Yet another downfall of being an uninitiated prat? I have no one to turn to when it comes to this shit.

This was a problem up until I fell asleep when I went to see the Bawon. (Side note: whenever I dream of the lwa, they are in a forest. I know what forest, specifically, they are inhabiting, but I always find it weird that I am, without fail, in a forest and surrounded by forest noises.) He was holding reign over his Guédé and smoking a cigar. And he was quite angry with the much of the items I had taken away from that chapter. At one point, he slashed his hand in a rather sinister manner and said around his cigar, “Don’t you be worrying, baby girl. You do what I tell you to do. That’s what you worry about.” I have to say that I have never seen the Bawon as angry before (and as I told Tumblr this morning, I do not recommend seeing him angry). But he was pretty pissed off with a lot of the ideas and thoughts I was having because of this.

The lesson here (remember there was one) is that just because I find something of note or interest in a book doesn’t mean that the lwa and Guédé whom I offer my services to are going to be pleased with what I pick up. Remember that rambling monologue earlier on about how I get a lot of direction from the lwa and the Guédé because I have a functional godphone? That’s the lesson. The lesson isn’t just that I may find things that the spirits I service disagree with. The lesson is that I’ve spent so much time relying on books, blogs, and other people to tell me what to do here. When all along, I’ve been doing a damn good thing by listening to the lwa and what they’ve wanted of me.

This hearkens back to a conversation I had with Papa Legba recently about Gran Bwa. I’m going to leave off with it here.

Papa Legba You need to honor Gran Bwa. He come to you and you don’t do nothin’ for him.
Me I failed the test he gave me, remember? I figured we were just kind of done. Besides, how the hell do I honor him?
Papa Legba Haven’t you been doin’ that all ready?
Me What? No. I’ve been honoring the land spirit and leaving– Wait.
Papa Legba You been doin’ this whole damn time and you don’t e’en remember what started all that.
Me Oh, fuck.


Akhu Veneration for the Recently Deceased: Deities To Help Deal With Grief.

As I’ve tried to remain the stalwart island of calm for the last six days amid the grief of TH’s family at the loss of his maternal grandfather, I’ve been thinking about this in relation to my veneration of my akhu. As everyone has attempted to handle their grief in the ways that are socially acceptable – most notably, drinking a lot more than usual – I’ve been having those thoughts about how, one day soon, I am going to be the person who requires an island of radiating calm when my maternal grandfather goes into the West. As I sat in the chapel at the veteran’s cemetery, fervently praying that the netjeri in the Duat would grant the deceased a reprieve for not knowing the proper spells and incantations and names, I realized that one day, I will be hoping and praying for that for my grandfather. And it is quite possible that those prayers will be sooner as opposed to later, for me, as my grandfather is older than both of TH’s grandfathers were when they past. I knew, as I prayed and as I thought, that what I’ve been doing for my akhu has no equal to what I will have to do when it is my turn to cry in front of family at the loss of my patriarch.

My akhu veneration has little to do with the intense grief that can impact people when they have a loss. I found this out, acutely, at the loss of Sweet Pea. I was the only one who was really upset with her loss. I was, also, the only person who has grieved for her. No one else has thought of her with fondness or with sadness. No one else has called out to a dog who will not answer me [on this plane of existence] anymore. No one else can even remotely claim that they fell to the floor, wracked with sobs at her loss. When I went through that first touch of grief the week, or so, after her death, I spent a lot of my time on the floor, curled into a ball and sobbing in that ugly way while trying to prevent my current dog from licking my face. (I will give this to Jasmine: she sure knows how to pull you out of ugly sobs.)

With the loss of Sweet Pea, I felt that I had nothing and nowhere to turn to with my grief. I did not have anyone, really, around me who would understand or care how I felt. I didn’t have a god, ready to go, for just such an occasion. I walked around in a daze of pure emotion, being unable to reconcile the overwhelming pains of guilt, grief, and horror at the loss of a dog who had been my closest companion for the last nine years. And I know, deep down, that the loss of my maternal grandfather will elicit about the same amount of emotional gulag as the loss of Sweet Pea had done.

It’s difficult for me, working as heavily as I do with the akhu of this area and remaining in semi-constant contact with my into-the-west family members, to admit that at the actual moment of loss, of grief, I don’t know where to turn. I know exactly who I need to speak with and in regards to what when I’m in the graveyards. I know how to pass honor to and who to leave some offerings for when I’m there. I know what to do and when to do when someone is already dead, but when they’ve only just recently become that way…? When someone you love, whether of the animal or human persuasion, is gone from you… who do you turn to?

I’ve been looking into the mythologies a little bit in an effort to solidify this portion of my practice. While turning to any one deity will not be the totality of akhu veneration for the recently deceased, it’s a good place to begin. Plus, not only would I like to be able to handle my grief willingly and capably and constructively by turning to deities adequate to handle such things, but I’d also like to have this benefit put together if and when my son has to go through loss of this nature. I would like to also be able to give people somewhere to turn when they are going through these losses and feelings. So, as I’ve looked into some of the mythologies, I’ve compiled a sort of go-to list of various deities who would be able to assist us with grief specifically borne out by the loss of a loved one.

I think one of the best deities we, as humans, can turn to in our hourweeks of grief would be Aset. Of all the deities in the Kemetic pantheon, there are very few deities who have had to contend with grief on the level that she has. Not only did she have to suffer the loss of her husband and the desecration of his corpse, she also had to hide the birth of her son only to finally watch both her son and her brother duke it out, so to speak, over who would rule the land of Kemet. To know grief is to live with that grief and while she is a goddess, and perhaps far more capable of handling her feelings than we, she must have still known such intense emotions at all of the happenings in her life. Aset is a goddess who knew grief and managed to come out of the other side of her grief to become mother to the ruler of Egypt.

In same vein, we could easily turn to her sister, Nebt-het, in our time of grief, as well. While she would also be a good goddess to go to for difficulties with the spouse – as she must have had numerous difficulties, lying to Sutekh while she helped her sister raising Heru without his knowledge – she was also there to aid her sister with her grief over the loss of Wesir and the finding of Wesir. Both she and Aset are depicted on either end of a deceased’s bier, attending to them prior to their resurrection. Professional mourners in ancient Egypt were associated with Nebt-het as she was a goddess of mourning. She knows what it is like to have pain and grief mixed together, and she, along with her sister, would be ample in assisting in the dealing with one’s grief.

Sutekh could be a deity to turn to when the grief is in relation to, possibly, the loss of a brother. Even though he is the reason he lost that brother in the first place, he still had to have felt some grief at the loss, itself. While I’ll not air my thoughts on Sutekh’s role in the Osirian Myth Cycle or the Contendings, he knows grief even if he is the cause of said grief. Not only would he be an appropriate deity while in mourning for the loss of a family member, but many of his followers tend to see him as a deity who oversees the grief-stricken and the lost. In this capacity, he can easily be a deity to turn to while in the thick of things, barely able to function because you’ve lost someone whom you love so very much.

Heru-sa-Aset would also be an appropriate choice to work with in the stages of grief. While he may specialize in the grief one feels over the loss of a parent, he would still be an appropriate choice for any type of grief. And as a deity who lost his father, and yet was able to overcome that grief in order to overtake his uncle and become king, he may be one of the best choices, right along side Aset. While we do not see a constructive and healthy way of maintaining our grief and working through it in relation to Sutekh and Nebht-het, we do see it with both Heru-sa-Aset and his mother. They were both able to feel the deep, ragged hole of loss and overcome it to live their lives as they should have been lived without the loss that triggered the myth cycle.

UPG Alert Sekhmet is, also, a goddess who would be capable of helping to aid one through the grief cycle. While personal experience has shown that she’s not always the type of person who will pat you on the back or curl up around you when you’re having those ugly sobs due to loss, she is capable of helping to teach you how to transmute your pain into a healing experience. There have been, as I’ve said before, numerous times where I have curled up around the base of her altar, crying for the things that I have lost over the years. While these items aren’t necessarily related to death and dying, it is still grief that I have shown her. And even though she hasn’t done the things I’ve requested – made me feel better with attentive pats on the back or curled into a lion pile of pain – she has still assisted me, gladly, in the process of my grief. /UPG

You will notice that I have left out the two gods we oft associate with the Duat and death: Anup and Wesir. Both of these deities are intimately involved in the Duat and the rebirth of the deceased. And while I think it is completely possible and probable that these two deities would be helpful in grief management, I tend to view them in other roles that I will discuss in future posts.

And besides, these five deities are only recommendations and suggestions.

Each Kemetic has a set group of deities that they turn to. And I do not deny that turning to the gods that you work with the most would be another appropriate response when in mourning. However, these suggestions are for those of us who, maybe, freeze up and feel a little lost when it comes to handling grief. These are possibilities for forging new relationships when in need. These are possibilities for that moment when, after you learn that someone has gone into the west, you freeze and are unable to think properly. Even though I work with two out of the five suggestions, I still have felt like I’ve been unable to walk over to the appropriate altars and say, “Help me.”

While that is an issue I’ve discussed in “Grief of an Akhu Venerator” and an issue that I am still working on, personally, it is something to keep in mind for future moments when I will be put into this situation again. I have gods that I work with who are both capable and probably willing to assist me when I call out, in need of some assistance. And there are other deities to turn to, should I feel the need to find a deity who has felt as I do because they have gone through similar circumstances. Freezing up and not reaching out to gods is not a solution – it is a problem. And hopefully, with an arsenal at my disposal, I’ll be less likely to do so in future.

This Is What Grave-Tending Is.

With dirt-covered fingers and broken fingernails, I know that I succeeded, somewhere.

With dirt-covered fingers and broken fingernails, I know that I succeeded, somewhere.

As I sat in my car, leaning my head back against the head rest and my eyes shut against the bright sunshine, I felt the ache in my muscles. My shoulders and my forearms were calling out for a warm soak and stiffened fingers needed cleaning. As I opened my eyes and glanced down, I marveled at the change in my hands. The few nails that had grown out in the last two weeks were broken and dirty. There were pockmarks left from when I had buried my hands, to the wrist, in blackened soil and overgrown grass roots. On my forefinger, I had somehow managed to rip open the cuticles around the base of my nail and was only feeling the pain from that injury as I looked down at my marvelous, work-soaked hands. And as I marveled at my hands and all of the hard work they had done, as well as all the injury they had received, I knew I had succeeded in doing a job well done. The ache in my muscles, the dirt on my hands, the injuries I was cataloging were all clear signs that I had succeeded in the sacrifice and I could go home pleased.

I don’t really discuss grave-tending overmuch right now. It’s become so habitual that I honestly forget to discuss it outside of a few pointed comments here and there. It’s also become such a devotional and sacred act that, occasionally, the act of writing about it or the act of speaking about it feels, sometimes, to detract from the works that I am doing. It is with glee and joy, with excitement and happiness that I do these things for the land, those interred, my family, and the surrounding area. But, there are some days in which I want to speak even less about the work and more about the act itself. In same vein, there are days where I don’t want to do much more than come home and weep for the destruction the elements cause and that time causes. On days like that, I don’t want to say or do anything to bring it back into focus because it hurts. But some days, all I want to do is snap pictures of my once beautifully manicured hands and say, this is what it is to tend graves.

Yesterday, I went to family graves. I go to them, sometimes, because I need the quick release I’ve come to associate with grave-tending. The act, in and of itself, is like a trip to the mall for someone who needs retail therapy. Only, instead of buying clothes and shoes to fill a closet I don’t have, I snap pictures of the things that I do and of the people that I meet. Some days, I go with an intention bigger than life – to photograph a cemetery with hundreds of headstones and it becomes a project for a few weeks. And soon, I will begin another project like that, but first, I wanted to see to all of my favorites and all of my family before I begin the big things again. So, yesterday, I went to see my father’s family members who are buried nearby. I haven’t seen my grandmother since last year and her grave was covered over for the most part.

It took me a while to clear it of the grass. Roots are tenacious buggers and the grass or sod used in cemeteries is a pain. There are days where I rip off all of my nails as I clear off headstones from the detritus of time and being forgotten. My grandmother was another one of those casualties and I couldn’t even read her name or her dates. I could read the epithet clearly, her laughter was as warm as our memory of her. But, I couldn’t see who she was anymore and I couldn’t remember the important dates anymore. I cut off the grass with spade and chisel, carefully clearing the extraneous dirt into one of the jars I have to hand for such instances. I cut a worm in half, accidentally. I fought the roots. I took a toothpick and cleared away the roots that had infested the etchings. And then I sat back and marveled at my handiwork.

I looked down at my hands and said, this is what it means to grave-tend.

The acts that I provide are a consummate sacrifice. If I’m not sacrificing skin and cuticles, nails and muscles, then I’m sacrificing other things, too. I sacrifice my Saturday mornings to do these things. I sacrifice the rest of my day, actually, so that I can rest up and have a day all to myself – a novelty, really, when you have a five-year-old at home. I sacrifice the money I earn from my job in gas and offerings. Some of these places are a stone’s throw away, so to speak, but many of them are not. And they all deserve my love and my attentiveness. I take that sacrifice to heart and I feel the joy that my heart sings at having done so. Sometimes, sacrifice is easy and other times it is not. In either case, all that matters is that I am willing to patiently do what I can every week to see that these people, biological family and otherwise, are remembered and fed well.

On days like yesterday, I sit in my car for a while and let the stiffened muscles relax for a bit. I left them settle themselves after being put to use. And in those quiet moments, before I’m quite ready to start the trek back home, I wonder. I wonder at my hands, as I’ve shown. I wonder at the graves I have yet to photograph or get to know. I wonder at the things I’ve seen – like yesterday, I saw a hawk soaring above me for 15 minutes – that are outside my normal frame of reference. But mostly, I wonder if there are other people out there like me. I wonder if there are other people who are aware of the heartache and sacrifice that these acts actually are. And I wonder if the people who make noises about being interested in what I do would give it the respect it so honestly deserves.

On days like yesterday and days still yet to come, I sit in my car and I smile with joy at the broken nails, the new wounds, and the dirt encrusting my hands. I smile for the devotional act I can do and willingly do. I smile and laugh and relax. I smile for all the things but nothing so much more than the physical reminder of what I do and why I do it.

This is what grave-tending is.

Akhu Veneration 101.

One of the things I’ve noticed is that there aren’t a lot of 101 or guides out there for people looking to venerate some akhu. It’s difficult to try to emulate the rich worship going on in ancient Egypt in modern times – no tombs, no pyramids, no seventy days of mourning, no natron and bitumen, no walls carved and artfully decorated in a tomb, etc. But, when it comes down to brass tacks, really, the worship part is what we need to focus on. I think people at large and some Kemetics in part get caught up in the pretty pictures in all of the books. I’ve been guilty of it, but I’ve decided that just because I am recon-slanted doesn’t necessarily mean I have to lament the things I don’t have that are like ancient Egypt and celebrate the things I do have that are unlike ancient Egypt.

What is akhu veneration?
Specifically, akhu is the special word that Kemetics use to denote their ancestors, which actually translates as “shining ones.” It can also be translated to mean “spirit,” “ghost,” or “transfiguration.” (The last because when an akh is created, then it has been transfigured – passed the weighing of its heart and allowed, in ancient Egyptian belief, the ka and ba to merge to form the akh.) Each Kemetic is more or less specific about what akhu means, but when we are getting together and the word pops up, each of us speaking of our genetic heritage, the ancestors who created us to bring us into being today.

Now, when we venerate our akhu, it can either be intimated that we worship them as one does with the gods or that we revere them. Specifically, “venerate” is defined as to revere while “worship” is defined as reverent honor or homage paid. In a very technical sense, we could go so far as to say that I’m using a pretty fancy word here, veneration, when I could just as easily use worship. However, worship is a dirty word in post polytheist circles, so I tend to refrain from using it on a regular basis. It may, in fact, be what I do with the gods, but I cannot say that I worship my akhu.

My staples for feeding them are a mix of Kemetic staples and some things I’ve picked up in my research from Vodou. Obviously, you don’t need to follow my list exactly, but it’s a good start for anyone freaking the hell out. From the Kemetic side of things, I will leave flowers, bread, water, whole fruits, incense, booze, and candle light. The candles are usually the small tea lights and I will usually light it early on so I can make sure that grass fires don’t happen, but occasionally, I will leave one of those glass enclosed seven-day candles. From the Vodou side of things, I will leave roasted corn in the form of corn nuts – the spicier the better – and tobacco.

Who would be chosen as one’s akhu to venerate?
This is one of those questions that can be problematic and/or inherently personal.

Personally, when it comes to taking care of my Blessed Dead, I associate them with people who are my genetic ancestors, people who have absolutely no bearing on my genetic heritage but are still part of my family in some way, and people who I have never met, but who forged the area where I live into the metropolitan urbane area it is today. While I’m a rarity in choosing to include the graves I tend regularly as a part of my akhu, I’m not so rare in choosing to include those who are part of my genetic heritage and those who married into my family (and did not add to my genetic heritage). To me, all akhu are my akhu in a way – I do not pick and choose people from my family and if I were to research the histories of the people whose graves I tend, I would not pick and choose them, either.

You see, quite often in Kemetic circles, there will be specific people who are part of a person’s akhu who are left out. The reasoning behind why various Kemetics will leave people out is personal. They either will or will not share their reasoning, but I can tell you that the people who they leave out tend to be “assholes.” That’s a rather broad term for some souls who should have been killed off in the Duat with the horrors they inflicted upon their families, but it’s the best. Those people could be muuet (demonic beings) or their souls could have been dispersed. In either case, it is in the living person’s best interest to not interact with them at all.

I completely agree with this. In fact, I heartily support anyone who says that they cannot or will not add X to their akhu because of Y. As I said, these decisions are very personal for each practitioner. Who chooses whom is not an easy question and it really comes up to making the decision after – pardon the pun – a lot of soul-searching. But, all in all, when it comes to determining who you are or are not going to add to the list, you really need to think about it on your own. You need to decide if these are the ones you want to interact with and if not, you should know why so that you can tell that spirit – if they are an akhu and not a muuet – why you’ve made that decision.

Can pets be considered akhu?
I absolutely and one hundred percent believe that my pets are part of my akhu. Pets are a delicate thing for a lot of people, at least in America. There are people who view them as part of the family – as I do – and people who view them as “furniture” or “decorative pieces.” Since my pets have always been a part of my family, a four-footed sister or brother, daughter or son, they are absolutely honored when I venerate my akhu. To each their own, and all of that, but they’re part of my practice. While I don’t leave offerings for them as often as I do my human akhu, they’re included when I do rituals for my akhu.

How do you venerate the akhu?
Each person’s practice is going to be different when it comes to the how. We are no longer limited, in this country, by a heritage universally shared or similar. In ancient Egypt, this was never up for debate because they were all the same: if you were rich, you’d get a place to go to when you died and if you were poor, you may be able to work some fields on behalf of those rich people after you died. How the layman, or the poor man, was honored by their family has not come down to us [like everything else], but how it was done for the upper crust is not something we can emulate. We don’t have pyramids or tomb niches cut out of rock to visit. We can go to graves, but the grandeur of the Valley of the Kings is a far cry from the gravestones we may visit.

So, how? How do you go about this if you’re recon-slanted and trying to rebuild a modern practice?

You do whatever the hell feels accurate to you.

For example, I know a Kemetic, Zenith, who has Philippine ancestry and in honoring them, she tries to emulate veneration of the akhu from a Philippine perspective. When I work with my genetic ancestors, as they are all French and English, I tend to pull items from both sides to coalesce them into a single, cohesive, veneratin’-full unit. Some people who venerate their akhu do not take the racial or genetic history into account and just go to town. But others, such as myself and the Kemetic I mentioned above, will look to the heritage for answers to questions as well as suggestions on how to go about honoring our akhu.

While utilizing the heritage that your akhu stems from is a very simple matter, what it comes down to is a simple what feels right. If you feel it’s right to honor them based on where they come from in the world, then do so. If you’re a full-fledged American who doesn’t really see themselves as anything other than American, then go your own way. In either case, the how isn’t as important as the doing.

What do you offer the akhu?
In all actuality, when it comes to the leaving of offerings, it is highly dependent on where I am and what I am doing. What I offer when I am tending graves is similar to what I may offer when doing ritual to my akhu at home, but it’s not specifically the same. When I’m tending graves of either my genetic ancestors or the graves of my beautiful cemeteries, my first and only real purpose (especially if it is a cemetery where I have not built a connection yet) is to feed their souls. One hundred and thirty percent, my main goal besides cleaning, taking pictures, and telling them all who I am and what my purpose is* then my next goal is to make sure they are fed enough to be active when I come back for a visit.

* If you are entering a cemetery with the intention of grave tending and you have never, ever, ever, ever been there before, you have no connection with that place or those people. You need to announce what you are doing or else. The last time I failed to do that, my camera went to the big Scrap Pile in the sky. So, you absolutely announce to everyone – first thing – who you are, why you are there, and how you are not going to harm anything because you’re only goal is to please them.

Now, as far as leaving offerings, I have quite a few standard staples that I leave. Most of my staples stem from my Kemetic practice, but I have one or two that I leave from the snippets I’ve learned with my vodou practice. From the Kemetic perspective, I will leave flowers, whole fruit, incense, bread, water, booze, and candle light. The candles I usually leave as an offering are tea lights and white, for purity. I will usually try to light my candle earlier in my grave-tending, well before I am ready to feed their souls fully, so that I can be sure I do not cause a grass fire. Occasionally, I will leave the glass-enclosed seven-day candles but rarely. From my vodou practices, I will leave the spiciest damn corn nuts you ever did find – as a replacement for roasted corn, which appears to be a well-loved treat of the Guédé – and some tobacco. The Bawon and many Guédé prefer cigars, but I’m not so perfect and pay attention to the ecosystem, so I’ll leave a few tobacco leaves if I have any.

Where do you venerate them?
Quite often, people will build a shrine or altar space to their akhu, which is where most of the offerings, prayers, and communication happens. It’s easiest, really, to build a general place in your house so that you aren’t forced to use gas and go to graves to venerate. It’s all right there and you don’t have to go anywhere to get what you want done. This is easiest, not just because of the economy, but also because not a lot of people will live in the same area as their akhu. Pagan Pickle has told me that he lives to far away to visit graves on a regular basis and in the case of Zenith, her family members are in the Philippines, which isn’t exactly a hop, skip, or jump away from her in the United States.

All in all, an altar in your home is the easiest and fastest way to get started.

I’m lucky, however. I can go to the graves of my akhu with very little gas money wasted in the process. Literally, my father’s grave is right down the street. My paternal grandparents and paternal step-great grandparents are in the city next door. The myriad of family members on my mother’s side all tend to reside in the largest Catholic cemetery in my city. My maternal grandmother is in the local veteran’s cemetery (which is about a half hour from me) waiting for my grandfather to join her. Not everyone is as lucky as me, though. I can jump in the car on a Saturday (my chosen day for akhu work) and visit any one of them. And if I’m really inclined, I can drive the few hours to New Hampshire, eastern Massachusetts, or New Jersey to finish the larger array of ancestors I have.

However, I don’t just go to the cemeteries where my family members have been left. I also go to all of the older cemeteries in my area and tend those graves. I do this because, as I’ve said, my akhu is a bit more complicated than most in that I also honor the pioneers who cut out our swath of the country. While the things they did to the locals are horrific and unbearable in the eyes of [many] modern Americans, they are still to be honored for the sacrifices they made in creating this country, either for fighting for its independence or merely for creating a township that is still extant today. So, again, I go to the cemeteries and that’s how I get my veneration on.

What would you put on an altar for the akhu?
Altars to the akhu vary from person to person. You can go on to Fuck Yeah Altars on Tumblr and usually see an akhu shrine if you scroll back far enough. I’m uncertain but Shrine Beautiful may also have some akhu shrines thrown in there. All in all, if you look at someone else’s altar porn, then you may be able to get a few thoughts on what to add. If not, here are my recommendations.

If and when I do the altar thing for my akhu, the entire thing will be a shrine of pictures. Be careful that the picture only shows the person who you are honoring and no one living. (I can’t really remember the reason behind why we don’t add living people to our altar except that it’s “bad juju.”) If you don’t have access to pictures without other people in them – as I have found with my father – then get an item that reminds you of that person and place it on the altar as them. For my father, I would place a white-and-black plaid shirt as this was the type of shirt I associated with him. For my grandmother, I would use a replica kitchen table because she “ruled the world from the kitchen table.” (No, seriously.) Aside from that, an offering plate or bowl, a cup for libations, and some candle light should top it off.

When should you venerate the akhu?
As based on the Kemetic lunar calendar, there appears to have been miniature festivals for the akhu once a month. I haven’t integrated the lunar calendar into my Kemetic calendar, as yet, but it may happen in future. Aside from that, there are a few minor festivals of the akhu throughout the solar calendar that can also be celebrated. As my studies in regards to the Kemetic calendar have been put on hold while I get other projects done, I cannot say conclusively if there were larger festivals held in ancient Egypt that were for the akhu. I believe the Wag Festival is associated with the ancestors, but it later became conflated with a festival of Djehuti. The information I have pulled has been mostly based off of the Djehuti association.

I also celebrate Fet Guédé, which is on the second of November every year. My celebrations for this are for my ancestors, obviously, but I mostly go out to a cemetery and do a very private celebration. Not as fun-filled as the Bawon would like, but what to do when you are a solitary Vodouisant? From what I’ve read and from what I’ve seen in videos, this is a very large celebration for Haitians and my, herm, rather sedate celebration is not up to par.

Aside from those minor festivals and Fet Guédé, I actually celebrate my akhu fairly regularly. I go to the cemetery every Saturday when the weather is not snow or oppressive heat to spend time with either my genetic ancestors or the graves that I tend. They are always on my lips, always in my heart, and I spend a good deal of time each week talking to them and honoring them as I see fit. Not everyone can be as obsessive, I suppose, as I can be when it comes to my akhu, so I recommend looking to your calendar and integrating some festivals of the akhu to get into the swing of things.

Why do you venerate the akhu?
I’ve thought about this answer a lot since I began having thoughts that I needed to write this entry. I’ve discussed why we have the relationships we do with our gods, but I’ve never really thought about why we would venerate our akhu. From an outsider’s perspective, it may appear that we spend as much time thinking and discussing and celebrating our akhu because, well, that’s what the ancients did. And since a lot of us are recon-slanted or full-blown reconstructionists, then by golly, we’re going to recon the whole damn thing, ancestor veneration included. And in some circles, this may actually be the case. It may just be that someone has decided that the ancient Egyptians did it, so you know, it should be a part of their practice, whether they feel strongly about it or not.

In my practice, it really wasn’t a huge aspect for the longest time. I would go and visit and I’d think about things I wanted to do for my akhu, but my plans always fell apart or they fell short of the goal I had intended. It wasn’t until I began working with the Bawon and Papa that I began to realize that it wasn’t just about me and what I wanted, but it was about my akhu and what the fuck they wanted. And as silly and ridiculous and trite as it may sound, they just really don’t want to be forgotten. They want someone to tell others stories about them. They want someone to tell others about who they were. They want someone to tell others about what they liked. They want someone to just fucking make them live, however briefly, in stories, anecdotes, and in those people’s thoughts.

And that’s what it comes down to; that’s the why.

Akhu Veneration.

Sometimes, I think I’m an oddity in the Kemetic community, considering how very important veneration of the akhu is in my practice. Most of my community doesn’t have as much in it as I do. They have moments where they say prayers or where they offer items for their akhu, but they don’t hold as much… not faith or stock… they don’t do it as often as I do. I am very careful to remember my akhu on their birth and death anniversaries. I set lights for their souls and feed them at every opportunity. I also don’t care too much about akhu who would be considered… jerks or assholes, I suppose, by some of the others in my Kemetic community. To me, an akhu is an akhu is an akhu. And while I never knew the grandmother on my biological father’s side, I know that she has passed from this world and she has joined my general remembrance of all my akhu.

I’m also exceptionally strange in the fact that I have added people whom I never knew, with no biological connection to me, as part of my akhu veneration.

The thing is that, now, when I think of akhu, I don’t tend to just refer to the people who I venerate who are my specific biological ancestors or the ones who are a part of my family via adoption or intermarriage any longer. I tend to view all the work I do in the cemeteries, going there and remembering them and feeding their spirits, as part of my akhu veneration. I don’t know these people and they never had a slip to do with how I ended up on this planet and in this body with these particular genetics, but they have vastly become part and parcel to what I refer to when I think akhu veneration. And I think that’s also part of the oddity, as well; what some people would think of as simply working with the Deadz, I’ve long since jettisoned that terminology and those feelings to encompass a large group of people who most wouldn’t categorize as part of their practice.

I find myself exceptionally amazed at the transition of my path in just the one year I’ve solidly put into this work. I went from working with the intention of just cleaning up some cemeteries and possibly aiding some genealogical researchers to suddenly feeling that if I cannot do these things – go the cemetery, leave my offerings, take my pictures – then I am as good as dead, myself. It’s so all-pervasive that with the possible future change in weather, I am nearly champing at the bit, ready to get back out and into the cemeteries, to clean up, to feed, and to love and remember.

Who would have guessed this was what I could expect?

Certainly not me.

It’s funny, though, how things transition without you realizing it. You start a practice and you think, this could be fun. And as time slips by, you get into the swing of things or into a groove. And when that groove becomes commonplace, then you realize that it truly becomes a part and parcel to what it is you are looking to building, looking to do. And before you know it, you are not merely venerating akhu as is commonly associated in a Kemetic standpoint, but you are suddenly surrounded by akhu, akhu whom you’ve never known or will ever know, but there they are.

This whole veneration thing… it certainly takes on a life of its own…

Grave-Tending Two Cemeteries.

So, initially, this post was going to be an action-packed picture whore of a post in which I showed you all of the great and magnificent things I did today. However, due to technical difficulties, which I will get into later on, I had to change my initial idea.

For all those people who are recent followers or who have forgotten, one of the duties I took upon myself was to go grave-tending to older and forgotten cemeteries. This pretty much means that I go to cemeteries and spend time there. I end up cleaning off head stones, taking snapshots of every head stone, take notes for names for the stones that are too faded to properly catch in picture format (though a picture is still taken). I also leave offerings for the Deadz therein as well as clean up the place. I have a couple of Photobucket albums dedicated to my grave-tending duties, actually, and one day, I’ll have a page on here dedicated to that. (But not today.) After a six month absentee to this duty, I knew I had to get started again.

Part of the reason why it’s been so long since I’ve done my last duty is because New England is not terrific for taking this duty on. Since I do this in honor of the Ghede, specifically Papa and the Bawon, I only do this on certain days of the week, namely Saturday since this is their day. And since most New England winters bury the land in snow and ice, I don’t get much done during those months. In the summer, especially if the cemeteries are of a larger nature, I dehydrate faster than I can get water into me so I tend to abstain from the practice then, too. This leaves me with Spring and Autumn to conduct these duties. Since this last year I’ve been driving three hours to Rutland and back on Fridays and then doing it all over again on Sundays, I let the thing slide. Burning myself out didn’t seem like a wise idea.

And now, I don’t have those extraneous driving duties to perform, so guess what? It is definitely time to get back into this before winter hits.

Today, I chose to work on two cemeteries in Ludlow, Massachusetts. I chose the Sikes Cemetery and the East “Ould” Cemetery to conduct my duties out. Prior to getting started, I packed up my grave-tending basket with all of the items I could load it up with at home. This pretty much includes a spade, toothpicks, a brush, jars, plastic bags, booze, water, my camera, extra batteries, incense cones and tea lights, as well as any food offerings I think are proper. After that, I will occasionally make pit stops before going to pick up more food for offerings. Today, I added a large loaf of freshly baked bread and a bundle of flowers. I also added apples and grapes from my at-home stock to bring along with me.

The Sikes Cemetery is a mostly empty field. As taken from this website, “This is the oldest cemetery in the town and is located on Munsing Street. The land here was used as a burial ground even before it was given to the town for use as a cemetery in the 1770s. The cemetery has not been used since the early 19th century according to McChesney (in Noon’s book, he states that this cemetery is still being used as of 1911) and many of the bodies buried there no longer have a gravestone. This cemetery is very small and has an old stone wall around it, built in 1865.”

While I wouldn’t class it as small myself, I can see what the author was initially trying to say. There are very few head stones still standing in that place and it took me, maybe, fifteen minutes to photograph all of them. In fact, upon entering, I had to traverse the entire length of the cemetery to reach the first head stone. Since there was no head stone at the entrance, I didn’t pay for my entrance. These people didn’t seem to mind overmuch. Most of the head stones that have remained are all Sikes relatives. There were three stones that were so badly weathered that I could not read or tell the name. These three stones were also broken in half. It’s obvious that no one put any thought, energy, or time into this cemetery aside from posting Veteran flags at the proper places. It makes me wonder how many of the souls in that cemetery are still there – without a head stone, do they really have a place there any longer? I can’t say I’m “sensitive” or anything, but I didn’t feel any Deadz in there.

Most of the head stones were heavily covered in lichen. I ended up going back through them and writing down first names, years of death, ages of death, and any relationships they bore to related head stones. I don’t do this very often and this is a very new addition to my practice. I started doing this at the behest of my mother when she started nudging me about posting my pictures in a more public fora so that people who are looking for ancestors can at least see their graves, even if they’re across the country. Since I’m doing this work for them and not for me, it seems like a valid addition. Even though I took pictures of every head stone, I still had to go back and catalog who was who and number each notation of a name I made so that I could try to place them with the photos I had taken. The weathering and the lichen were just that bad.

I did try to clean them off as best I could. This is what the water and the tooth picks are for. With the tooth picks, I’ll trace out the pattern of the word beneath the lichen and then try to brush the rest of it away. This is actually what I spend a good deal of time doing. It seems that past generations were less caring about whether or not names were maintained on their head stones. This saddens and irritates me… as does the trash I found. This cemetery, being in the boonies, wasn’t as bad as some of them, but there was still some trash around. I picked the bits up and then set about prepping a place for my offering: half a loaf of bread, a nip of whiskey, flowers, grapes, and an apple. I offered them this to feed their souls.

After an hour, all said and done, I was ready to get to East “Ould” Cemetery.

As taken from the website I linked to above, “Also known as the “Ould Burying Ground,” this cemetery is perhaps one of the least known cemeteries in town as it is not near any main roads, similar to the Sikes cemetery. This cemetery lies off of Poole Street and is half in Ludlow and half in Belchertown. The first person buried here is Hannah Olds who died in 1802 and is on the Belchertown side. This cemetery is only used today for burials in existing family plots.”

This cemetery was actually bigger than I had originally thought it was. When the Sister originally found it for me, I took a drive up to find it so that I could remember where I would go when the weather cooled. (Guess what? I still had to do a Google search for it.) It’s very odd because it just pops up on the right after driving on a small two-lane road for what seems like forever. It’s also strange because one of the entrances abuts a person’s driveway. And in the distance is their field for grazing, as evidenced by the various cows and a donkey I saw walking by.

I settled down to get work done and ended up marveling at the whole place. It was large, the grass was spongy, and it was taken care of. Obviously, the locals tend to this place better than the Sikes Cemetery I went to. I was pleased. The problem I kept running into was that feeling that someone was trying to sneak up behind me. I also heard footsteps behind me on two separate occasions and someone running really fast, as well. I made sure to pay the first head stone I came to, but someone was playing games with me. Well. I don’t know if it was playful either. It was definitely odd and it left me slightly unsettled, but I’ve been unsettled in plenty of cemeteries before… no game-playing is going to stop me from my job.

However, what will is the death of my camera.

I was about a third of the way through when I came upon a particular head stone that caught my eye. It was a white marble head stone that had fallen over at some point. It had been left there for so long that the face that was pointing to the sky was completely weathered away. Intrigued, I lifted it up to see who was on the other side, but there was no name. It had completely worn away. I couldn’t name them; I couldn’t do anything. I did however play around with some of the pieces of the head stone that was left over. It was very interesting to play with marble without it, you know, being a part of a stone. Immediately after this head stone, I came across a man who had a very odd name. (His name was Purchase, but it wasn’t spelled that way.) I took a photo of the head stone, zooming in on the name, but the name got cut off. Annoying, I pulled the zoom out on my camera and the screen went dead.

I casually shut it off, turned it on, shut it off. Nothing. I pulled the batteries out, blew inside, and placed them back in there. They were still fresh, so what the hell? No matter what I did, I could not get it to work. “Whoever is doing this, stop, please,” I called across the cemetery. “I am here to feed your souls. Tend your graves. Clean you up. And make sure you are remembered. Don’t you want to be remembered?” I’m not joking when I say that trees went insane with the amount of wind that lashed through them. I heaved a sigh and said, “I will prep your meal for you and if the camera is still down after that, I will leave.” Nothing.

I went around preparing the meal I had in mind and left a flower at the grave of the man who I had last taken a picture of… just in case he was the one angry with all of this.

I try to at least be a little artistic when I do this.

After the incense was halfway burned through, I tried my camera again but it didn’t work. I shrugged it off and threatened to come back later. “You can’t stop me from this. I will make sure you are remembered,” I snapped angrily and stormed off to my car. When I got home, I gleefully went about uploading the pictures that I had double checked were still available on my memory card. Even though the screen was going dead, preventing me from taking a picture, I could still check the pictures on the playback. (Weird!) I handed the camera off to TH to inspect and we discovered that my faithful grave-tending companion was now truly dead. With nothing left but to start at least looking for a replacement, I began the long process of downloading 260 pictures to my laptop.

And ten of them, from the Sikes Cemetery, were downloaded. I only discovered this, of course, after I deleted them from the memory card, which I do immediately after they’re placed on my laptop since it makes my life easier to do a mass delete like that. And I had watched the process as it took hours to download (my laptop is not in the best shape, either). I had seen the pictures erasing and there were images being shown instead of blank, stock images. So, as far as I can tell, 260 images were taken from my memory card and then, disappeared. I am very upset by this and I’m trying not to believe that I really am cursed with electronics or that some nasty little spirit is fucking with me. (However, I’ve had the Deadz fuck with my camera before just because they felt like it or to see what would happen before and this feels similar.)

This is not going to stop me. I am planning on going back to redo both cemeteries in the next week. (Even though I prefer to do this on Saturdays in honor of the Bawon and Papa G, I will return to cemeteries that I owe things to whenever.) And no matter what the hell happens, East “Ould” will be done and uploaded. And I will be gleeful.

A Myriad of Things… With Pictures!

So, in the last few days, I’ve had quite a few random tidbits that actually all equate to my spirituality in some way, but just haven’t gotten around to blogging about them. So, instead of making a bunch of small posts and spreading them out, I decided to do a big huge to-do (with pictures). That way, staring tomorrow, I can start working on two offerings related posts that I’ve been thinking hard about, my calendar post that I promised ages ago, and start prepping for this year’s (and my first, really) celebration of Wep Ronpet. Also, there’s some pie baking in that somewhere, but that’s not anything to do with my spirituality and more to do with the fact that my son has an awesome grandfather who loves blueberry pie and I’m the only person in the world who is willing to make it.

The first to do with anything is about the dead bird I found in my yard.

The bird I found, being put to rest.

After discussing it with K and L, we decided that I should do some unofficial rites for the passage of this bird. I remarked on how the birds were quiet that morning and decided, well, why not? I didn’t have anything to lose and my first instinct had been to bury him. While I’m not fond of doing the gut instinct thing all the time, it was remarked that I probably should. So, I went for it. I ended up going outside with my Deadz spade, a cone of incense, and a cup of water. After making the hole and burying the bird within, I lit the cone of incense in honor the bird’s spirit. I also ended up pouring the water offering in a giant circle around the bird. I felt like I was doing something worthwhile and very important. I also had to figure out what this all meant: was this a signal to begin some work more in tune with Miss Dirty or was this something else?

After take my son and one of my dogs for a walk, I ended up figuring it out. (K and L also aided in this realization, as well.) Recently, I had been driving by a shit-ton of OLD CEMETERIES. Each time, I wasn’t able to stop for whatever reason: not enough time, no camera, no enough time, child in the car, not enough time, and NO CAMERA. And I found myself yearning with each swoop by. I haven’t actually been grave tending since May, I believe. And that is one of the duties that I was taking very seriously and enjoying very much. It may seem strange and odd that what I was doing – playing around in cemeteries – was making me feel good about myself and helpful, and that I was accomplishing something. But there it is. With each click of my camera, I was feeling more in tune with myself. (And seriously began considering a grave tending business up here, in MA.) All that being said, I haven’t done it a long while and I’ve wanted to desperately. Time, energy, a lack of spoons, and various other things have gotten in the way. And it was on that walk that I realized that I’ve been getting in my own way. I need to get out of my way and do what I want. With these thoughts, I felt really at peace.


Right in front of the steps, there she was.

That’s when I knew I had done the right thing for the bird and that I was on the right track when it came to my thought process. The bird was pleased with what I had achieved and the gods were pleased that I was finally getting it. Sometimes, I don’t need clue-by-fours.

After a while, I started thinking about how I haven’t really been able to focus on my work with Hekate. This isn’t for lack of want. I do want. Things have just been getting in the way. I’ve been on a mad cleaning spree since I discovered just how bad my bug problem was. (I have thrown out a metric shit ton of personal mementos, never mind all of the bedding and whatnot.) I feel like I’m failing and I know that she doesn’t feel this way – this is merely my perception of the entire situation. After a while, I decided I would sit down and I would apologize to her. I was feeling down in the dumps because of the bug problem and because I feel like an overwhelming failure in a lot of arenas. (No, I’m not going to discuss what’s up with that here.) I needed a laugh.

I need a laugh? The gods obey.

I looked over because I happened to hear clicking that was out of context for my dogs. Jasmine was chasing down Sweet Pea to dominate her with some loving. (Yes, my Jasmine humps the hell out of Sweet Pea, whether she’s in heat or not.) Sweet Pea was not amenable to this and looked for the only place she could hide that wasn’t under my shirt: Hekate’s altar. Where she is trying to hide if the lower shelf on the end table I appropriated for Hekate’s sacred area. This isn’t the first time she’s done this since I pulled the table out and into the kitchen, but it’s the first time she was on there long enough for me to snap a picture. Laughing maniacally, I couldn’t help but fantasize about getting a dog pillow for Sweet Pea to lay upon beneath the altar. If nothing else, this reinforces my belief that Hekate likes dogs – like I didn’t already get that feeling. She evidently really liked Sweet Pea, though, because Jasmine hasn’t tried this yet. (Although, it would be HILARIOUS to see a 20 pound weener-dog trying this on a tiny table shelf.)

Last night, I took apart my son’s room to clean up his toys. (I can’t remember the last time I did a bleach-water soak for his things. Ugh.) So, I filled the bathtub and threw his cars, his blocks, and various miscellaneous toys into the bathtub. After a horrifying moment when I realized that there were crayon bits in there now, as well, I sat down to relax. While I was busy relaxing and watching adult television – Lost Girl is fucking awesome – I couldn’t help but noticed that some of the cars the Sister had bought my son for Christmas were going off. The buttons are extremely easy to set off. You can walk by and they’ll go off. Anyway, they were going off all night long, but the connection wasn’t made until I saw a child’s head poking out of my son’s room. This was disconcerting because the door was shut and the beings that wander my house at least try to pretend that they can’t pass through corporeal shit. But, these were children playing around…

… The Marassa are back.

I was pretty pleased since I haven’t seen them in a few months. Not since the last time I posted about them. But it began to make a lot of sense that they were playing around. Things were getting cleaned up, the cars were out and about instead of locked in their usual bucket, and there was no way I could yell at my son for pressing the same damn button over and over and over and over and over and over again if he wasn’t at home, now could I? These two planned this one out! The one that was in my son’s room came rambling out and played hide-and-go-seek with me in the hallway while the other just pressed the button on the car over and over again. After three blasts, the button pressing would stop for a while and then start back up again. It was pretty cute. At about midnight, I asked them to (nicely) stop playing around but that we could all chase one another in my dreams if they so desired. And evidently they did because I do remember chasing after some giggling twins in my dreams last night.

My birthday is coming up and I realized that I would probably not get much in the way of a birthday this year, like last year. Last year, TH was at work out east somewhere and I was stuck out here. So, I received a flower delivery at work (yes, I worked my birthday) and got FB wishes for my birthday, but very little else. Everyone else forgot. I’m trying hard not to get depressed at the fact that I probably won’t see TH on my birthday, two years running. My birthday is… kind of crappy. My ex-husband decided to get married to me on my birthday. I could have said no but I was young and dumb then, so, my birthday is an eternal reminder that I can make big fucking mistakes. So, with my birthday coming up and depression kind of nearby, I decided to buy some shit for myself. (I bought books, if you must know, but they are not here yet.) I had a promise going with Legba that I would buy a cowrie shell bracelet as well as a lot of cowrie shells for him. We compromised on just the bracelet this time around since the lot of shells I wanted didn’t have free shipping and I was worried I was spending too much, as it was.


So, I wasn’t really prepared to find a box in my mailbox this afternoon when I went to walk Jasmine. But there was card board peaking out. I was pretty excited – what was here?!?!? I immediately knew what it was. I also find it pretty damn ironic that the skull beads I had intended on placing on my Deadz altar showed up the DAY after I decided to dismantle my Deadz altar.

Oh, wait what?

Here’s the thing. The bed bug problem I’m going through is pretty fucking horrible. We’ve seen them in every room of our house, and that includes the kitchen. And by the way, the bugs in this house don’t know that they’re not supposed to go in the kitchen but all the literature says that they’re not. So, anyway, this is why I’ve been doing a prevalent, massive, huge clean and purge. (GUYZ. GUYZ. DON’T GET BED BUGS. OKAY.) This means that once the exterminator tells me that everything is okay, I am going to be getting rid of all to most of my furniture. Wait. I go through all the work of getting them cleaned and toss them out? Yes. I cannot and will not have the mental reminder of a horrific time if I can help it… and I can. So, my mattress and box spring, the end table, the night tables, my son’s bedroom furniture, the couches, and the two shelving units, one of which holds my Deadz altar, are all going to be going on the side of the road in two bulk pick up loads.

I seriously debated about the shelving units, actually. One holds a shit-ton of movies that don’t fit in our [broken] DVD cabinet. The other is home to my Deadz altar, which I always forget. That’s because it’s in a small corner that I don’t really pay attention to. I know it’s there but it’s not as in-my-face as the rest of my altars. I can’t miss those since they’re the first thing I do when I walk in the common area of my dining room or when I first walk into my house. (PLANNING; I HAZ IT.) And I haven’t felt my Deadz over there since Sviata Vechera. I’ve also felt that both Papa Ghede, if he was ever in my life, and Anpu do not care for the placing of the altar, or the way it is laid out. So, it goes and I wait until the day when I can put my Deadz in a better location that is IN-MY-FACE.

Oh, irony. You are my life.

Relevant Post

  1. Interesting Things!
  2. Sviata Vechera

Visiting my Veteran Deadz.

Today is Memorial Day and the first time in quite a while that I have gone to visit my father. He’s been dead since 1990. As a child, we didn’t visit often because the wound was still too fresh for my mother. And, as a single parent, it’s difficult to corral two children while going to visit your dead husband, possibly break down about it, and various other little things I can’t think of or take into account at the moment. So, we didn’t go often. When I moved back up here with MEH, I went periodically. It’s only been as I began to pay closer attention to duties in grave-tending that I’ve actually begun to visit him on a regular basis. I’m hoping that the lapse in recent months is an irregularity as opposed to anything else. I guess we’ll find out in future.

I pulled into the cemetery and was gratified to see a veritable sea of flags in each section of the cemetery. Some had more flags than others. My father is buried in a section that does not boast many flags, but a decent amount I suppose. Across the way, Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App there is practically a flag on every grave and down the hill a piece, there is maybe a handful in that section. But, to drive by them, and see them all waving in the air was heart-lifting. It made me feel good to see them. When I parked in the section where my father is buried, I could immediately pick out his grave. He has this thing where he likes to be different. My mom swears up and down that it wasn’t until after we moved down south that grass really began to grow on his grave. And without fail, every time there is a holiday where flags are distributed, he invariably gets one angled into the ground where he is buried. They also tend to be more off to the side of his head stone as opposed to centered in front of it. Laughing, I posted on FB that I was “visiting the man with the angled flag.” I would have moved it to a more central location, but evidently, he likes to be different.

After I settled in to saying hello, I cleared back the grass that was crowding around his headstone. I can see that his grass has not come in perfect. A lot of it is already dying, Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App even though we’re only a few weeks into “summer.” But, for some reason, the grass likes to overcrowd his headstone so that you have to push it back to get a good image. I ended up cutting it away, brushing down the mess I made, pushed back the dirt at the corners so there is a little more space, and then brushed away the mess again. When I felt content with that, I sat back and looked at the sky for a while. I was looking for peace and I was looking for answers. I was looking for a perfect moment and I was brooding as well. It was like I was a mixed creature at that moment, looking for two things that would bring solace. At that moment, I was in one place and another. I was here and not here. I don’t know how that happened, but when I realized I had some things to do, I set about getting my offerings going. I broke up some bread and spread it around his grave. I felt him grumbling and I told him softly, “Who else to feed your soul? And I only have bread to do so.” I then left him some water. My father was an alcoholic in life so I do not bring him alcoholic offerings. I then lit a candle, which went out at some point, and some incense. He liked the incense.

Then, I did something I wasn’t sure he was going to like.

A long while back, in fact I believe it was last September, I had managed to acquire the Tarot of the Dead. I’ve never used them before, but I was instructed to only use them when I’m working with the Deadz. I’m not sure what that’s all about, but I never felt like it was the “right time” to use them. So, they stayed in my basket and waited to be pulled out. Finally, today, I felt that it was a good idea. Now, in life, my father did not hold to any of that “New Age stuff.” He burned my mother’s Tarot cards and tossed out her Ouija board when they got together. (And many other things besides.) He would have none of that under his roof, I suppose. I can only wonder exactly what he would think of my life style right now if he was still alive… Heh. So, I pulled out my cards and said, “We can communicate better this way. I know how you felt about them. You don’t have to use Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App them.” So, I did a three card pull after I shuffled for a while. The cards are big and colored in pastels, for the most part. I wasn’t focusing on anything, but the outcome to my cards could either be interpreted as my father telling me things I already knew or answers about something else that I didn’t realize I was thinking about. I have to do a reading with the Fairy Oracle tonight to figure that out.

After that, I put the cards away and sat there until the incense cone had burned out. (I’m going to have to figure something for that. I don’t have a travel holder and I’m not sure if I prefer having a cone on a grave or if I’d like a stick of incense with holder on a grave. Decisions, decisions.) I sat back and stared off into space, wondering why he was dead. Was it folly? Was it escapism? If it was just something silly and foolish, then I could be angry with him still, I think. I wouldn’t hate him or anything, but I could understand the occasional flashes of anger I get in regards to him, his death, and my being father-less by seven, after only getting one by three. I could, too, understand my little brother’s anger at this, as well. But, as I sat there, asking the questions in circles in my head, I began to think that maybe… maybe he’s like Jenny from Forrest Gump: always looking for something to hide the horrors deep within. And I have the feeling that’s the case, which makes it sad… so much more sadder now than it was a day ago, or last week, or five years ago, or the day after he died.

I’ll tell you something.

Working with the Deadz has made me realize just how completely fallible I am, as a human being, in a mortal way. But, it’s also helped me to set aside a lot of the anger and irritation I feel when I think of my father dying on me. He had permission to go, at the end, but that doesn’t make it any easier. Why didn’t he just stop? Why couldn’t he stop being so stupid? Why didn’t he think for once? But. I know that this is probably as far from the case as possible. He was hiding from whatever monster was eating his heart and soul. And so doing, died for it.

I miss him. There are days when all I want more than anything is to crawl into his arms and say, “Daddy. I’m hurting. Fix it, please.” I don’t know if he ever would have or could have. I didn’t know him long enough or well enough to know how far he would go to protect me and aid me. And though my mother did a really good job taking over the dual roll parenting, I still want my daddy there sometimes. Bony, black-haired man with a fondness for flannel shirts, never willing to smile, and always behind the camera instead of in front.

The Continuing Adventures of the Angry Deadz.

So, yesterday, I met up with one of the angriest human beings I have ever had the displeasure of knowing… in angry Deadz form. (Link to previous post below.) I’ve never liked this person, to be honest. George has always been kind of irritating to me. I watched and listened as he lorded his power over his tiny wife, who was ten years his junior. For example, Gramma went downstairs to relight the pilot on the water heater. The gas had, apparently, been going for a while. She stuck a match in there and WHOOSH! Her hands and her flimsy nightgown caught on fire. She was able to put it out but asked George to take her to the hospital. He didn’t like to drive, but after she “whined” about it for “long enough,” he did so. He bitched her out there, at the hospital, and all the way back. It was like it was her fault that she had caught on fire and he made sure to make her feel like that. She would go down to the basement to escape him often. And when she told the story, she mentioned repeatedly that it “was” her “fault.” When Gramma got up the balls to kick him out, I was her biggest cheerleader.

The thing is that the two of them were both very stubborn people. Gramma is one hundred percent French and George was mostly Italian. So, they were both fairly explosive together. But, the thing is that after time had passed and George was diagnosed with cancer, I urged her to go and forgive him. I knew that he wasn’t going to make this disease last as long as everyone said he would. He was tired and angry. He was kicked out of his home and forced to live with the son that he had long since denied existed. And I didn’t want her to forgive him because he deserved it, but because I had seen what the power of forgiveness (or not giving it) can do to people. My ex-husband forgave his step-father for a VERY large offense after years of refusing to do so (and let me tell you, he had absolutely no reason to do so except that I urged him to it) because it would make him a better person and you know what? It did do just that. And I wanted her to forgive him for the wrongs he had committed so that she would stop being so angry and taking it out improperly. But she never listened and he died without mending that fence on his own.

I’m not sure if it’s that part that makes him part of the angry Deadz or if it’s just in his nature. From the bits I’ve heard about George as a youth, he’s always been abusive in some form or another.

And let me just say that this was the first time I have ever come face-to-face with an angry Deadz before. It had never happened to me. Sure, I had met up with an entire pissed off cemetery, but it didn’t have any baring on me. There was no emotional connection with the people in that cemetery. And really, they were pissed off about being ignored and left abandoned. Whereas with George, he has years’ worth of angst built up. And as I said to someone at some point, he’s only been dead since October of last year. He hasn’t had long enough to realize the damage he’s wrought and that no one is willing to forgive him for it yet. So, really, I was utterly blind-sided by the fact that he was so pissed off… or that he’d take it out on me.

I’m the only person who will, probably, visit him ever. I am the only one who would leave offerings and clean the lichen from his stone. But, he got pissed off and snarky. He slammed that anger into me and I let it get the best of me all the way home and after. While I was feeling upset to my stomach and over-heated, I asked people what to do. I didn’t know how to cleanse and I’m not big on that. Sure, it’s something I should know after years of this stuff, right? But, I’m not so good at any of the basics. I should get better and I should study, but it’s not so much as important for me, at the moment. But, at least know, thanks to Camylleon and Cin, I know what to do the next time I’m spiritually assaulted by some pissed off ghost.

The first suggestion was simple and easy: take a shower. And just let all of that negatively drain right the hell down the drain. I’ve done this before, but usually it hasn’t had much effect on me. It’s not because I suck at it (though maybe that is the reason) but that things always get crowded into my headspace. I was worried about that happening, so we chatted a bit. I suggested Florida water and Cam said that was a good idea. Cin recommended that I rub an egg all over my body and then throw it as far away from me as possible. She said it was old folk magic, or something related. Cam seconded the recommendation. And of course, as if all of this didn’t matter, there was always the salt method. So, with these new weapons added to my repertoire, I went to take a steaming hot shower.

I said to myself, You’re not welcome here. You’re not going to be in here. I don’t want this. This isn’t me anymore. I used to be a very angry person. I would break things because I was in such a rage and I needed to let it out. It’s part of the reason why I was a cutter for so many years, but not entirely. I would rant and rave over the tiniest little aggravations, so I knew what it was like to be so pissed off. But, I calmly willed it all to leave. I didn’t need to feel that way any longer. I didn’t want to feel that way any longer. I continued with my silent pleas, I’m working a more virtuous lifestyle here. This anger and irritation is no good. It’s just no good. And then I closed my eyes and thought the word mawat.

From my readings, this is actually an ancient Egyptian word. It’s supposed to signify “mother” if I recall correctly. I thought that word and I felt a woman beside me. I was leaning against the wall with my head bowed as I began to feel drained, emotionally and otherwise. The woman had a headdress of a vulture atop her head. And I felt so very content to be in her presence. She reached around and gave me a long, deep hug. It didn’t mean anything. It was just an I’m here; I’m listening kind of moment. It was peaceful and thrilling. It was definitely a very important moment and not just because it made me feel better. It was definitely a clarifying of a bit of that dream I had (link below). She’s definitely around and Mut is definitely listening. I feel more relaxed just talking about it. I thought about the salt when I was in her arms and realized that salt probably wouldn’t be good for my skin. But when I thought about the Florida water, she seemed positive about that.

So, I climbed out of the shower and got dressed. I pulled my unopened bottle of Florida water out of its home in the cabinet. I opened it up and my son came over, asking me what I was doing. (The second I open those blue doors, he’s all over me. He wants to know about my stone collection and play with the tree limb I have stashed in there.) I opened up the bottle and let him take a sniff. “That smells awful,” he said. I told him that I thought it smelled delightful. And then, I anointed myself. I placed some in three places across the back of my neck, care of Cam’s experience with something similar that she had written about once. I also placed some on each wrist, my third eye, and over my heart. On top of feeling completely relaxed by this point, I couldn’t help but realize that I fucking love the smell of this stuff and I think I want to keep a bottle in my grave-tending kit. I also want to spray some on my bed and see how that works out. I can imagine the dreams I would have!

After that, I was exhausted. I felt like I had been up and on the go since four o’clock this morning, but I had only gotten up after ten or so. When I mentioned this on Twitter, Cam reminded me that I had been through a lot on lack of sleep and had a major personal gnosis moment. She said it seemed kind of normal. And Cin was pleased that I was feeling so much better. So, right here: THANK YOU, TO THE BOTH OF YOU. <3

I’ve learned a big couple of lessons. I have a very old goddess who is willing to just give me a hug when I need it most. I have a very angry dead person in my family who will not be getting a visit any time soon. I learned that Florida water is fucking phenomenal and I have to find a place, locally, where I can buy it. And I also learned, sadly, that George’s anger is still just as strong within the family lines as it was when he was alive. I’ll let you in on a family secret here: there’s a kind of curse.

Wait. What?

Gramma told me this story when I was still pregnant with my son. This was after we had learned he was a boy and were looking to names. The family is pretty stuck on the same names: Anthony and George. Each male in the line (of which there are not many for who knows what reason) has had some form of combination of these names. TH is Anthony George. His father is George Anthony, as his father was before him. (As near as I can figure.) Gramma told me that all men in the line with variations on these names tend to be angry, snappish, brutish men with horrible lives. She told me that there was a curse on the line and specifically, on the name. She said that it just kept going on and begged me to “end it.” So, I named my son Rowan, which was no sweat off my back since I had chosen that name at 20 or some such. That curse is anger. It is a white hot rage, very much like I experienced today. And as I asked TH some questions about his grandfather in trying to write this, I noticed that barely concealed rage. My mellow, loving TH has that rage inside of him. He fights it, but he fights it alone because he doesn’t believe as I do or as Gramma does or as his mother does.

I only hope he’ll let me in when it starts to get too much for him.

Relevant Posts

  1. Visiting my Deadz PT 2
  2. Dreaming Ties All Mankind Together